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tv   In Depth with Lynne Olson  CSPAN  October 1, 2017 11:59am-3:01pm EDT

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in manhattan to hear mike wallace discuss the continuation of his pulitzer prize winning history of new york city. later that day in san francisco at commonwealth club where lylea janna will argue that providing jobs for the world's poor is more sustainable than aid. and the company's 70th anniversary party. >> and off to detroit to here a historian examine what role slavery played in the city's early history. wrapping up the week, saturday, in d.c. policies and pros book stores, where they'll recount the life of chester a arthur. that's a look at what they'll be covering this week. many events are open to the public. look for them to air in the near future on book tv on c-span2. >> and now on book tv we're live with author and historian,
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lynn olson, author of seven books, many on world war ii. including troublesome young men, those angry days, and the recently published "last hope island", britain, the brotherhood that helped turn the tide of war. >> guest: poland thought it was prepared but it wasn't.
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nazi germany was the mightiest military behemoth in world history up to that point and poland was, had a, sizable army. small air force, small navy. it was basically a poor country. it didn't have the sense and financial wherewithal germany did. they thought they could hold off germany at least for a while but germans rolled over them. cspan: you say it wasn't a surprise. the date was maybe a surprise but was the rest of europe preparing for war at this point? >> guest: they expected war was coming. most european countries hoped it wouldn't happen. half the european countries were neutral. they declared neutrality. some prepared for war to a certain extent but none of them
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were really ready for what was about to happen to them. they hoped somehow something would happen to prevent germany from embarking on what, you know, hitler had been really preparing for a number of years. so they were basically keeping their fingered crossed. obviously that didn't work. cspan: why weren't they prepared? if they were aware of what hitler wanted? >> part of the reason, you have to remember, 1939, was only 20 years after the end of world war i which was the greatest bloodbath in history up to that point. many of those countries in europe had lost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people including the two biggest western allies. france and uk, england. and so they were not prepared in any way, i mean they didn't want
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war. nally, financially -- emotionally, financially, going through another cataclysm like that was anathema to them. there was essentially appeasement from the time world war i ended until world war ii broke out. all those countries really desperately wanted to keep war at bay. most of them were readily to do whatever it took it didn't happen again. cspan: lynne olson, you talked about half the countries being neutral. guest guest yes. cspan: what were some of those countries? >> guest: netherlands holland, norway, luxembourg. france and britain wanted to be neutral. they were basically pushed into an alliance. they started preparing for war in' 37,' 38, not really the way
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you prepared for war in germany against hitler you needed to mobilize. they didn't. they didn't want war. neville chamberlain, prime minister of england, made it clear rather appease hitler than prepare to fight him. very few in britain were not saying you can't do that. win ton churchhill the foremost opponent of appeasement. he knew hitler was a tremendous threat, not only to europe but to the world. he kept saying we've got to get ready, we've got to get ready. basically the government ignored him. he was in parliament at that point, he was in parliament and was a back-bencher. nobody paid attention to him. same with france. france lost 1.6 million of its young men, huge percentage of its young men. cspan: in world war i. >> guest: in world war i. they had invaded by germany. england was notinvaded.
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they were invaded and suffered terribly. they lost much of their industry. they were a country that really didn't bounce back very well. so they were just desperate to avoid war too. there was that spirit throughout europe, that we really can't have it happen again. we'll pretend like it will not happen again. cspan: in your book, "a question of honor," you write more people died in warsaw alone during the war then did americans in both european and pacific combat theaters? >> guest: that's correct. poland was hit terribly, terribly hard in world war ii. the first western country to be, country in europe to be invaded by germany. it lost 6 million people i believe. 3 million of them jews in world war ii. by far the highest loss per
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capita. i mean the soviet union obviously had more than 20 million people were killed but they have a huge population. the pols lost almost 20% of their population in world war ii. cspan: your book, "troublesome young men, may 1940". what was going on? >> guest: may 1940 was probably the most important month in some ways of the whole war, for europe, for the u.s., for everybody. may 1940 was the kind of the, cull minutetation of -- culmination of neville chamberlain's appeasement policy. it hadn't work. germany invaded poland in 1940, mildly to the dismay of the brits. they had not been prepared.
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they didn't know this was about to happen, this surprise invasion of norway and denmark, and it did. it was a huge defeat for neville chamberlain. so may 1940 was this amazing debate within the government, particularly in parliament, do we continue to appease or do we finally stand up? the, that debate in parliament lasted two days i believe. at the end of that debate basically, there was a vote. neville chamberlain won it very, very narrowly. he knew his days as prime minister were done. he really did not have the support of many members of his party in parliament. it was an incredibly dramatic debate. winston churchill was part of it, but he was not leading the charge of the anti-appeasement
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members of parliament. he was in chamber rape's government at that point. he was defending chamberlain in front of his fellow parliamentarians of the meanwhile this group, "troublesome young men" i gave to the group, members of parliament who were anti-appeasement, who were rebels, who basically thought they had to get chamberlain out and bring churchhill to power. so this debate was extraordinarily dramatic and exciting. these guys saying we have to get chamberlain out or we're going to lose. he have to do something. the upside chamberlain was forced out and winston churchill became prime minister, may 10th, 1940, the very day hitler launched the blitzkrieg of western europe. for drama, i don't think you can beat that day. once churchhill took power, he
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rallied, started to the rally the british to fight. meanwhile, hitler was just making mincemeat of all the countries he was going through. starting, it was belgium, it was holland, it was luxembourg. then into france. he toppled them like nine pins. once they got to france, everybody thought, he met his match. the french were supposed to have the best army in europe. they were mowed down within several weeks. by june, it was clear france was about to fall. so therefore, who do we have? we have one small country, standing alone against, you know this mighty germanbehemoth. of course that was london, and britain. and so, it was an incredible month. cspan: when did british troops
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first enter mainland europe? >> guest: they came in before the blitzkrieg started. once the war, once england and france declared war against germany, that was on september 3rd, 1939. the british did send two divisions into france, to you know, in preparation for an eventual offensive by germany. but, that period from september september 1939 till may 1940 what became known as the phony war. there was no combat. there was no fighting at all. supposedly france and, france and britain declared against germany because of poland t was to, because germany had invaded poland, then the allies declared war but they didn't do anything for poland. they made all these high sounding speeches but nothing happened. nothing really did happen until
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april 1940 when hitler invaded norway and denmark. that was really the beginning of the german offensive. then it really took off with the blitzkrieg in may 19 who and by the end of that blitzkrieg, as i said, only the countries that -- there were a couple of neutral countries in europe, switzerland and sweden being among them, but the rest of the countries were under german occupation. only england was still standing. cspan: when did dunkirk take place? >> guest: dunkirk took place at end of may 1940, first part of june. as the german troops were coming in, basically they cut off british and belgian and french troops that were in belgium. and then they crossed into france and nobody was expecting them to do that. and so they basically were given a free rein at that point.
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and those troops in belgium and france, the british troops, british authorities realized they were going to be basically cut off and in prisoned and some killed if they didn't get out. so pretty early on churchhill and british military started making plans for that evacuation of british troops from dunkirk. really only talking about less than 20 days from the time of may 10th when hitler, when germany marched in to western europe until the dunkirk evacuation started t was a very, very brief time and churchhill did not tell the french this is going to happen. they made plans for the ships to start to come over to evacuate british troops but the french were not notified until actually the evacuation had actually
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begun and they had made no provision in the beginning to take out french troops. only british troops. so the alliance, that partnership between britain and france which already unraveled tremendously was basically totally gone by the time the french realized their allies were leaving them and going back home. cspan: is it common to think that the germans had they pushed on the dunkirk invasion could have changed the course of the war? >> guest: there are a lot of could haves, and one that could have happened. why hitler stopped, he stopped his tanks for advancing on dunkirk for some reason. it was not really clear why that was true but he did. i think if there had been -- a lot of historians if germans had been much more aggressive they could have, you know, basically cut off that evacuation and not, you know, more than 200,000
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troops, 300,000 troops, were evacuated, most of them british. and so, the british army was saved. it would not have been saved. obviously it would have gone down if germany had managed to cut it off but they didn't. cspan: lynne olson, most of your books are about world war ii and europe but that is not your background or training. how did you get interested? >> guest: by happenstance. serendipity. i was, i'm a journalist by training. i spent 12 years as a journalist. i have always been interested in history. then i've been anglophile all my life but i never really thought that i would write, much of my life would be devoted to writing books of history about england and world war ii. it happened because i left daily journalism. i got tired of deadlines and i wanted to do longer work, more extensive work.
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i like doing reserve. i wanted to be able to do more. and so, my husband is also, stan cloud, is also a journalist. cspan: with "time." >> guest: with "time" magazine. we were looking around for a book to do together, decided, edward r. murrow, one of the great journalists is one of my all-time heroes. couple of biographies were written about him, very good biographies so we didn't want to do that. we decided to do a work about correspondents he hired to create cws news before world war ii. some of the research we did involved london because that is where he made his name in 1940, reporting the blitz and battle of britain back to listeners, cbs listeners back in the united states. i did a lot of research. i fell in love with the place. i fell in love with the period. i fell in love with everything about it.
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as is often true i think with historians and writers, one book led to another. that really got knee going on it. i had absolutely no thought it would happen. cspan: a blog entry last year you wrote, i rely heavily on the human angle in writing history. >> guest: yeah, i do. part of that comes from my training as journalist to write about people, focus on people. i remember as a child history classes especially in grade school and high school, they were so boring. i remember mem liesing dates, e-- memorizing dates and events, i didn't enjoy it, i didn't like it. once i got in, my husband as you said worked for "time" magazine, and "time" was very, very big, or writing about people, as newsmakers.
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really on human interest stuff and i'm by training as journalist a feature writer. i was, that was focused that way too and so much interesting writing about people. people make history. history is obviously made by people. so i want to be able to bring whatever i write about, the period, et cetera, alive in the way, i do it is through the people who are making that history. then talking about them. what makes them, what made them tick? why did they decide to do this and not the other? why did neville chamberlain decide to be an appeaser? i think that -- people like reading about other people. so and, so the human angle is incredibly important to me. it, when i decide on a book, topic, it has to have really, really interesting characters, at least characters interesting
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to me before i will, write about it. cspan: who were the murrow boys? >> guest: the murrow boys were a group of extraordinary journalist that murrow started to hire when he went over to london in 1937 for cbs. cbs is, radio journalism had not been invented back then, not in the way we think of broadcast journalism now. it was basically commentators who were kind of pontificating. you know, cbs, for example, i mean, i think their idea of journalism back then was to record night tin gale not in barclay square but something else. they would donate ture programs programs -- or requires, not journalism the way we know it.
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murder row was sent to london for talks for cbs he would arrange talks. he didn't want to do it. he had no training as journalist up to that point. he basically wanted to be a journalist and wanted to hire other journalists to report news from europe. europe was on fire then. it was clear hitler was a threat. mussolini was a threat. sew went around hiring the best journalists he could find. his first hire william shire a correspondent in germany at the time. cspan: "rise and fall of the third reich". >> guest: "rise and fall of the third reich." before he did that he was correspondent in berlin by murrow. he had a terrible voice. if you have seen a picture of william shire, short and dumpy and balding a little moustache, terrible, terrible voice but he
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was spectacular reporter. that is what murrow was looking for. he wasn't looking for guys with really great voices. didn't matter what they looked like. you didn't see them. it was radio at the time. he wanted really, really good journalists. it was shire. eric severide young reporter starting in paris. charles whoinggood, howard k. smith, people that watched television in the 1950s and '60s, they were incredible correspondents. he wanted people in the coming war and on going war as it was coming on. cspan: what was their impact on the war and u.s. policy? >> guest: they had tremendous impact on the war. murrow having the most impact. murrow was probably, i'm going out on a limb, he was, probably
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the most prominent american war correspondent during the war. he had amazing impact. he had a huge following. just giving you one example. he really thought we needed to get into the war. we didn't get into the war obviously until december 1941. britain was on the brink of disaster, on the brink of defeat. it was the last country holding out against germany from june 1940 until december 1941. so murrow was on the airbaseally over and over again, we have to get into the war. he didn't say it in some words but that was clear from the tenor of his broadcast. we have to get into the war. we can not let britain go down and it had an enormous impact on public opinion. in fact a lot of people give him
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a change in public mood in the u.s. from isolationism, to if not interventionism, thinking we had to come to the aid of britain. that continued throughout the war. cbs was by far the best in terms of broadcast journalism, in terms of war reporting and, throughout. they had an amazing influence on what was going on. cspan: was the u.s. prepared at that point? goodness, no. the u.s. was about as badly prepared as -- in fact, not as prepared as many of the european countries. you know in 1940 i think the american army ranked 17th in the world next to portugal and you know, bulgaria. i mean we had, the army was pitiful.
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very, very few forces. you know, they had no equipment. our aircraft was, they were, it was really, you know, nonexistent. certainly was an air force but it was, there was not a build-up that came later. if we were in a very bad shape in terms of defenses in 1940 and really it began to gear up. so by the time we got into the war it was better but still the big mobilization came after pearl harbor. cspan: lynne olson, one of your books, "those angry days" you write about american firsters. this is blog entry in 2015. john kennedy, gerald ford, curt vonnegut, gore vidal, kingman brewster, all household names in mid to late 20th 20th
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century america. late in their lives, they had something in common, in late '30s, '40s, they were passionately involved in american involvement in world war ii. >> true. i did not know about that in research of "those angry days." it was a story how america moved from the very strong feeling of isolationism in 1939, 1940, then started gradually thinking that maybe this is our war. and the book is really about the fight in this country about, about what we would do about the war. whether we would help britain or not. whether we would enter the war. it was a really brutal fight, and, as i said, one of the things really surprised me, to find on the side of isolationist, were a lot of college students who basically said, you know, this is not our
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war. look what happened in world war i? we were supposed to make the world safe for democracy and we got hitler? why should we -- obviously they were going to be ones on the front lines? why should we fight in it is not our war. it is not our fight. all those men, john f. kennedy, sergeant shriver, they were college students. they were part of this group called america first, which is the prominent, preeminent isolationist organization in the country. many of those people you mentioned were founders of america first. it was yale college students who founded this incredible isolationist organization. i have to add that all of them left, and by the time the war happened, they had enlisted. virtually everybody that you mentioned was fighting for the
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u.s. many of them win credible war records and a number of them left america first before we got into the war. they realized it was going to be our fight. that we were getting into it so they bailed out. cspan: want to play a little bit of video a little clip and this is charles lindbergh. >> i come before you at this time to enter a plea for american independence. there is no division among us about the defense of our own country. we have always been ready to fight against the interference of foreign powers in our affairs. if need be, we are ready to die for the independence of america, as our forefathers have died before us when the necessity arose. on a clearly american issue we stand a united nation. it is only when we are asked to take part in the quarles of
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foreign countries that we divide. cspan: that was in 1940. did he ever change his mind? >> guest: no he never changed his mind, he always thought we should stay out of the war until december 1941. when japan bombed pearl harbor, attacked pearl harbor, he instantly stopped that. now that war was upon us he backed roosevelt who he fiercely opposed up to that point. he backed roosevelt in his declaration of war. he said now that we're in the war, that he would support it with everything he had. cspan: lynne olson, up till niece 1941, was he in the majority? >> guest: that is a really interesting question. it is a complex question. in the beginning he was in the majority. i was saying in 1939 he was certainly in the majority. americans, as a whole were felt
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as college students we talked about, felt, world war ii was not our war. we had fought it. it hadn't worked. many americans thought the british had tricked us into it through incredible propaganda campaign. and so they were determined that wasn't going to happen again. and so the mood in the country from 1939 through, i would say the fall of 1940 was heavily isolationist. that did begin to change i think with, there were a number of factors. one of them was the bombing, the blitz in london. the constant bombing, the battle of britain and the fact that the brits survived. that the brits not only survived but they said, we are not going to give up. you know, i'm sure many, if not most people have seen these
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incredible scenes of london afire but, you know the british people trudging through the wreckage to their jobs. the courage of british people was extraordinary, not to mention the courage of the prime minister who had become a household name in this country for his defiance of hitler. so thanks to murrow and others, that, the knowledge, the reporting on that, i think began to change people's mind in this country. also there was a big campaign. not only america first fighting for isolationism, there were groups in the united states that were advocating interventionism. so they started having an impact also on the country. and so, this back and forth, back and forth was going on. finally by the time of 1941, you know, i think, certainly by the time of pearl harbor, most americans did not want to go to war.
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nobody wants to go to war but i think most americans, certainly, it was seen in the polls, were ready to go to war if it meant, that that was only way germany would be defeated. in other words they didn't want to go to war. it they were kind of resigned to the fact we were going to go to war. so there was quite a huge shift in american public opinion but it took place over really basically two years. cspan: between september 1st, 1939, december 7th, 1941, what was the communication link between fdr and churchhill? >> guest: it started out before, actually before churchhill became prime minister. they started writing letters to each other. roosevelt was obviously president then. and once churchhill became prime minister, there was a, regular,
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exchange ever cables. sometimes, phone calls. between the two and what it consisted of churchhill pleading for roosevelt and u.s. to get into the war. and roosevelt saying everything he can, i will do everything i can short of war. roosevelt was very wary of isolationist mood in the country particularly in congress. congress tended to be isolation istist republicans were heavily isolationist. this was a political guy. 1940 was the year a presidential election year, and he was running for a third term which was unheard of. nobody had done that before. so he was particularly concerned about the reaction of him doing what many people thought was too much to help britain at that
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time, because he was running for re-election. he was worried about that too. it was interestingly fraught year for everybody concerned in 1940. certainly for europe it was, but also in the u.s. you know, we, for the allies to win, the u.s. had to get into the war. there, everybody knew that. for britain to survive, u.s. had to get into the war, everybody knew that. the question was, are we going to get into the war? and so, it was extraordinary year in many, many ways. cspan: good afternoon, you're watching booktv on c-span2 and this is our monthly "in depth" program. we invite one author to talk about his or her body of work. this month journalist, author, historian, lynne olson. here is a quick look at her books. the murrow boys which we talked about a little bit she co-wrote with her husband, stanley cloud.
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came out in 1996. freedom's daughter which we have not talked about yet, the unsung heroines of the civil rights movement, came out in 2001. a question of honor, came out in in 2003. troublesome young men, the rebels who brought churchhill to power, saved england came out in '07. citizens of london, the americans who stood with britain in its darkest hour, came out in 2010. those angry days, roosevelt, lindbergh and america's fight over world war ii, came out in 2013. her most recent book out this year, last hope island, britain, occupied europe and the brotherhood that helped turn the tide of war. we'll be taking your calls as well and your social media comments. here is how you can contact us. air code is 202. if you live in the east and central time zones, 748-8200 is
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the number for you to call. mountain and pacific time zones, dial in on 748-8201. we have set aside the third line this morning or this afternoon for world war ii veterans. we would love to hear your voices as well. 202-748-8202 is the number for you to call. now if you can't get through on the phone lines, would still like to make a comment, there are several other ways. twitter, instagram, facebook, all have our, handle for all of those is @booktv. we'll scroll through those addresses on the screen as well. finally send an effort mail to booktv@cspan.org. we'll take the calls and comments in just a few minutes. from your book, troublesome young men, you write, by 1936,
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hitler's propaganda campaign in britain was bearing considerable fruit. in certain upper class circles it was considered politically sound by height of fashion to be pro-nazi. >> that's right. there was a very large contingent of pro-german aristocrats, particularly aristocrats. it was true in other, in other realms of society but upper class, heavily pro-german and it was very fashionable to go to germany and to hobnob with the nazis, including hitler. the medford family, they had, famous five sisters, two of them were very pro-nazi. one of them unity, went to berlin, became a, an associate of hitler and killed herself,
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shot herself in the head when basically, when britain went to war against germany. she survived for a few more years. yeah, there were, it was very, very, there was very strong pro-german sentiment in the chattering classes in england and some in the royal family as well. and so -- cspan: what about the u.s. ambassador to britain at that time, joseph kennedy? >> guest: kennedy, yeah. cspan: where was he on this? >> guest: joseph kennedy was loathed at the end by the british government, churchhill and british people, because he was also, i wouldn't say pro-germ. any. he was a business man and germany would bo to war against britain and britain couldn't possibly survive. it was clear that britain could
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not stand up to the might of germany and he thought -- he was a friend of neville chamberlain. chamberlain felt the same way. there was no way britain could survive if it were forced to go to war and so therefore we had to appease hitler and that is the way joseph kennedy thought too. he continued to see that, even after britain did go to war. you know, until he went home in october of 1940, he was publicly espousing appeasement, publicly saying that britain couldn't survive. that it was going down to defeat. and as you can man, the british people just went nuts over that. first of all america was not helping very much to begin with in their struggle. then you had the american ambassador espousing, you know, capitulation to the germans. cspan: what was fdr's reaction
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to ambassador kennedy? >> guest: fdr didn't like joe kennedy, although he was, joe kennedy was his appointee. he was the one who incident him to england but i think a large part of, and he certainly didn't agree with what he was saying, but again, fdr, the political animal, was afraid of joe kennedy politically. he was afraid of his influence among the american people. so he wanted him to stay in london. he didn't want him to come back to the u.s. before the election in 1940. so he did everything he could to keep him there until finally joe kennedy left, you know, fdr didn't call him back. he just left in october 1940. fdr was going crazy. it was right before the election. he went through all the convoluted plans to stop him from speaking publicly until he met with fdr, which happened,
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and fdr managed to persuade him not to get involved in the, into the election debate so therefore he kept him quiet until after the election. so he didn't approve of him. it was not fdr's finest hour to appoint joe kennedy as ambassador. clearly when he was appointed it was clear that europe was on, was about to be on the verge of war and he was the wrong person to send. cspan: who was john gilbert winet. >> it is winet. he was joe kennedy's successor. total opposite in every way. kennedy was a millionaire. john gilbert -- he went by gil. gil winet was former politician. former governor of new hampshire. very much idealist of economic
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social justice. ally of theodore roosevelt even though he was republican. the two had been governors at same time in 1930s, late '20s and 1930s. and when social security act was passed, in washington roosevelt named gil winet as first administrator incredibly important program, a republican. and he took the job. then he, in 1936 when the, republicans were against social security right from the beginning, and they made it a campaign issue and gil winet quit his job at social security administration, thereby giving up any hope of political career in the republican party. he basically destroyed his political career and basically
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denounced the republicans for their opposition to social security. so he was, he was very much of an idealist, a moral, a man full of moral courage. then became head of the international labor organization based in geneva, and when roosevelt was looking around for a successor to joe kennedy he chose gil winet. he went to london march 1941. that was probably the worst time of the war for the brits. they were close to defeat. they are merchant shipping was devastated by german submarines in the atlantic. they were having a terrible time militarily all over for them. the u.s. was still dithering what it was going to do. then this guy, this very shy guy
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with a stammer, he couldn't speak very well, anyway he arrived in london, gil winet arrived in london. said no place i would rather be than in brit inthat the british people fell in love with them. they really bonded with him. during the blitz when bombs was falling, and go out on the the streets of london and walk the streets, basically asking people what he could do to help. so the newspapers got ahold of this. what he was doing was publicized. so he became a symbol to the british that maybe america, maybe there was something good about to happen. that he basically stood up for them. it was really, really important, you know, in so many ways. and then once we did get into the war, then he was this, so he helped create the american,
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anglo-american alliance. he put it together, you know, after we finally got into the war. cspan: now, lynne olson, you say he bonded with the british people. he really bonded with the churchhill family, didn't he? >> guest: yes, right. he is one of the three main characters in my book, "citizens of london." all three of them, was gil winet is the least well known of these three. edward r. murrow, reporting from london and averill harriman was leader of lend-lease the military aid program congress passed 1941 to help britain. so he was very, very important as well. so i tell the story of these three men and what they did for the alliance. all three of those men did bond with members of the churchhill family. in fact they all had affairs with members of the churchhill family.
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harriman had very well, notorious affair with pamela churchhill, who was the daughter-in-law of winston churchill. her husband, randolph was churchhill's son, and was in egypt at that point. so they had, they did not keep this affair they were having in war-timelondon. murrow, once, harriman, in 1943 went to the soviet union as u.s. ambassador to soviet union. she switched her taken shunses to edward r. murrow so they had affair. and winet had affair with churchhill's favorite, middle university today. there was incredible romantic atmosphere within the churchhill family at that time. it is not surprising actually, because churchhill basically welcomed all into his, not only his professional family but obviously into his real family.
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he was determined to get american support and to pull us into the war, once into the war basically try to get his way with roosevelt. he basically did his best to know these guys and bring them in. so that obviously, they were, they spent a lot of time with the churchhill family. one thing led to another. cspan: well you focus on those three in "citizens of london" but did they work together? did they collaborate in their efforts to get the u.s. more involved in the war? >> guest: from macro view they did. all three of them believed intensely, passionately, that america had to go to war to help britain. they all believed that. once we got in they all worked to keep that alliance going. in terms of their own personal relationships with each other,
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murrow and winet were very, very close friends. they were very much the same way. the two are real idealists. they hoped and believed and were working to make sure a better world would come of this war. you know, that it would lead to equality, justice, all good things everybody wanted. averill harriman was not a good friend of either one of them. harriman was former businessman, a millionaire a businessman who was very much on the make. he wanted to make his mark in government. he couldn't do it in the u.s. franklin roosevelt didn't give him a job within his government. so he decided that he was going to do it in england. so he basically set out to cultivate churchhill and his family and the government, and did make his mark. he was, churchhill relied on him
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to a great extent. and as a result of that experience, in london, in the soviet union, during world war ii, he became a uber diplomat after the war. but he was, he was, he basically tried to elbow gil winet aside, basically be the number one american in london and gil winet obviously did not like that at all. so they were at odds through much of the war personally. cspan: 202 is the air area code. if you want to talk with lynn olsen, 202-74 in those of mountain and pacific time zones. a third line set aside for world war ii era veterans and people who were living during that time. 202-748-8202. i guess, if you were living during that time time, i was doing quick math, if you were in
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the war, born 1925, that was minimal, you would be early 90s these days. >> guest: that's right. cspan: do you have any idea how many world war ii veterans are alive? >> guest: i don't. i know it is rapidly dill -- diminishing. cspan: let's take calls. lynne olson is our guest. rona in sarasota, florida, is first to call. >> caller: thank you very much for this program. i got so excited when i heard lynne olson would be on. she is one of my favorite authors. i canceled what i was doing today. there is sign on my door, do not disturb me until it's a emergency until 3:00. cspan: before you ask the question what is it about lynne olson's work that you admire so much? >> caller: what she says about history.
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i had same exact experience taking history courses. i am 84, is have a kid at time, i very much remember world war ii. my dad was only civilian on roosevelt field during the war. he was working on lindbergh's plane, knew him, upset about his attitude toward the war. even though i was a kid i did get a lot of information about the war. i can not thank miss olson enough. i love one about the polish pilots. i forgot about the pilot of that book. i became an honorary poll after reading that. thank you so much. >> guest: thank you. cspan: now, rona, do you have all her books, talking about "a question of honor about the polish pilots? >> caller: yes. i love that i love that. the rest of the book, i have two more. rest on my night table to get to. cspan: you have a real fan there. >> guest: thank you very much. i appreciate that.
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cspan: which of your books has sold the best? >> guest: "citizens of london" by far. cspan: why do you think that is? >> guest: it is really interesting. i'm not really quite sure. i have ideas, i asked people why. a lot of people come up and say, you know that is my favorite book that you have written, or i really love it, i ask them. i think there are a number of reasons. one of them, one of the main reasons is gil winest. i think. one of the reasons i wrote this book was to bring gill winet to the world because i had never heard of him before. pretty sure nobody else had either. so, i structured the book in a way it wouldn't just be him. but he was really the inspiration for write writing the book.
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in this incredibly turbulent world that we live in, with ideals he he had, he did good, he appeals to people. it is a very, a very, romantic time. terrifying time. but it is, it is very dramatic. i think people really like the story of not only americans in london but how the citizens of london are, you know, obviously brits too, mostly brits and how they reacted to, you know, horrendous life that many of them had. i mean being bombed. being rationed. yet with this incredible courage, a lot of good humor,
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and so, i'm a romantic at heart but it is a romantic story, and it's a story of americans coming there and having lived in the country we lived in with two oceans, not dealing with all this, what they were going through but americans who were in london during that time had to deal with all of that. so there was a great bonding between americans and the british and you know, i don't know if you want me to talk about this but the citizens of london comes from a broadcast that eric severeid, of the murder row boys he made before he went back home. he had been in london during the blitz, covering london with murrow for cbs and was sent back to washington. but before he left, he made his final broadcast was about him. it was very personal. about how he had come to london and in the summer of 1940.
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he had been covering paris, was there are to the fall of france. traveled over to london, stayed several months there and, at the end of the broadcast, he was comparing paris to london and how paris was like this beautiful woman who died, who just gave up, just gave up life. and then he came to london, and he said, he at first hated the whole idea because he thought brits were snobs. they looked down on americans. that he would never ever get along with the brits and then he found that he, he fell in love with the brits and fell in love with londoners. at the end of the broadcast he said, he was trying to keep himself together. it was very emotional broadcast, and he said, in years to come people will write, i was a soldier, i was a sailor, i was a pilot, and others will say, i was a citizen of london, and you
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know, every time i talk about it, i tear up because it was so heart-felt what he was saying. he was a citizen of london as were the other americans there. going back to why it is most popular of my books, is it was a time most of us wished we could live through and this incredibly difficult time we live in, the idea of people working together for the greater good, i think is very appealing and people like that. cspan: well, lynne olson, when i asked you that question, i had preconceived answer. i thought it was going to be "troublesome young men." every summer booktv travels up to capitol hill members of congress what they're reading. over the years we've done this, we just want to show you a little bit of video.
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>> reading a book entitled "troublesome young men," by an author who escapes me, explores conservative members of parliament, back benchers, laid foundation for winston churchill's replacement of neville chamberlain. >> i'm reading a book about winston churchill's rise to power called, "troublesome young men." rise of in the late 1930s, disgusted appeasement of chamberlain administration towards the nazis. they orchestrated election of win ton churchhill which was widely believed to elevated most important leader of world war ii. >> last year i finished a good book that many of us in the freedom caucus, marlon stutzman read it. he gave me copy. i read it. we liked it. gave a copy to everyone in the freedom caucus.
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it is "troublesome young men." about the back benchers in parliament in '38, '39, '40, remove chamberlain out of parliament and bring upchurch hill. fascinating book and involved in changing our leadership t was sort of an interesting book that i read in just the last congress >> "trouble some young men" by lynne olson has to do with a rise of a small band of conservatives in the parliament during the churchhill period and kind of motivated by, i'm a member the house freedom caucus. we have 40 or 50 great folks trying to get country back on straight, solve some fiscal problems, and just represent the people more closely, do what the people want to do. so i think this book will give me a little motivation there. cspan: vice president of the united states, back in the stay, senate majority leader, two
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members of the freedom caucus reading troublesome young men. what do you at this of that? >> guest: has appeal. not only american legislators. i've been to canada. i've been to britain. mps have said that to me in britain. mps in canada said the same thing. it is kind of a rorschach test, people reading "troublesome young men quote. they read it and see that and see themselves is what is going on as one basically said. it is not just, these are all republicans. democrats have said the same thing to me. so it is, they, winston churchill is a hero obviously to a lot of people including many, many legislators and so, you know, it is i think they all think that's them. or they wished that were them, i don't know. but i think, in terms of members
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of the house and the senate, on both sides, i really do think they put themselves into that situation. cspan: and on february 3rd of this year in the guardian, you wrote that among republican members of the u.s. congress there are no profiles in courage at all. ironically this collective cowardice applies to several current congressman and senators who have told me over the years how much they loved "troublesome young men," clearly seeing themselves in the mold of those war-time rebels, yet not one of them has been willing to stand up to donald trump an emotionally disturbed authoritarian president, who equates criticism of his policies with treason? >> i did write that. i believe every word and stand behind them. cspan: was winston churchill immune to criticism? >> no. he didn't like criticism. he certainly didn't like criticism. but he would take it. i mean he would grumble and woe
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yell and he would scream but, depending who was offering the criticism, he certainly accepted it. for example, in, the war cabinet, people would often you know, argue with him about what he wanted to do, and again he would grumble, think about it and come to the same conclusion. his generals constantly were saying, you can't do that. he had a lot of cockamamie ideas. he had really wonderful ideas but a lot of cockamamie ideas. again he would grumble and, but he would, basically agree. so he, he did listen to people. he was always in charge, but he did listen to people. cspan: let's hear from clyde in at kin, minnesota. you're on with author lynne olson. >> caller: thank you very much. good afternoon for taking my call. i have always been very curious about this particular part of
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our involvement in the european campaign, and once hitler knew that we were going to enter the war in europe, and then especially after we were bombed by the japanese in pearl harbor, the collaboration between japan and germany and what research might have led people to discover if there was any idea that if it were, hitler were to come to power and win the war quote, unquote, the real domination would have changed and was there any collaboration or unification or would there have been a large push between germany and japan after that point? and then if i may, i have a very proud statement i i would like to make. i have a few people having a father, i'm almost 70 years old and was in world war i. i would like the question
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addressed i'll really curious about that thank you very much. . . .... .... >> they knew it was going to be difficult to win and said let's
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continue against the soviet union and britain and not get involved. hitler had been furious at roosevelt and the united states for a long time and he declared war three days after japan bombed pearl harbor. we did not declare war immediately against germany. i think a lot of people don't know or forgot that. the congress declared war against japan an december 8th, 1941. we did nothing in terms of germany until hitler declared war against us and we declared a war against germany and italy. so, i think the lack of real closeness between germany and japan proved to be a real problem. you know? they had not really collaborated on, you know, on going to war with the u.s. certainly that was
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one of the surprises. >> they had no idea what happened. >> nancy, please go ahead with your question or comment. >> thank you, peter. you have a brand new fan ms. olsen. i haven't known about you but what you are saying is incredible. my question is and i know you mentioned -- and i don't want to use the word sympathizer but there are rumors he was a nazi
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sympathizer and i was wondering what your thoughts are and i will take my answer off the air. >> it is a complex answer. ly ly lynnberg was the strangest person i written about. he didn't understand human beings and didn't like being around -- he wasn't a great socializer. he loved technology. and his interest in germany was basically through that. he really admired what the germans were able to do scientifically and in terms of technology. e specially in terms of flight. he thought lis waffle was the
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most powerful air force in the world and germany was the most powerful country and at that point was foolish and certainly for the united states to get the win. in terms of how they brought back and hitler was going to revitalize the world. he knew what was going on and he was a strange individual.
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his approval in terms of technology and bringing the country back from economic. >> was there a string of anti semitic in there? >> he was anti semitic in many ways. certainly a speech in 1941 in des moines really basically shattered his image in the country and was anti semitic. he often said publically what others were saying privately. one of the surprises for me and doing research for this book and
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jews were barred from universities. they were limited to a small quota. there was a very strong string within the government and state departme department. it was very anti semitic. >> barbara west on facebook please ask ms. olsen to conflict on lynn more lynn burg.
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>> i write her in "those angry days" and my favorite character maybe isn't the right word but the most interesting character of the book was married to charles lynnburg and found that whole period to be totally upsetting and putting it so mildly. she was caught in the middle of this fight between lynn burg and the isolationist and franklin roosevelt and the interventionist. her father came from one of the
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most eligible areas and he became the most important person in the world by flying across the atlantic non-stop. hand some, modest, charming, everything and it was a time of being a cynic and fast living and corruption and then you had this god, you know, this god fly across the atlantic and avenued fell in love with him. he was the one who married him. her life turned out to be far different than what was expected. he and franklin roosevelt were
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sprung into this male celebrity and as bad as it is now without privacy but lynnberiurg and his wife were beyond the pail and couldn't go anywhere without people following them and shrinking at them. she was a very shy woman and a very, you know, retiring woman, but a woman with a mind of her own. very talented and a good writer. this wasn't the kind of life she wanted. when he thrust himself is in the middle of the debate over whether we should get into the war and became the spokesman of the isolationist movement, this governor was not what she wanted -- again -- because she was an interventionist but was loyal to her husband so went long with what we was doing.
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it was a time of great emotional conflict for her. i don't think she ever recovered from it. it was damaging to her personally, damaging to her family, it ruined his reputation in many ways. it was really, really difficult for her. >> and that all on top of the kidnapping? >> we haven't even talked about the kidnapping of their child. people who were not around don't know about this but it was one of the most notorious events with their little by being kidnapped from their home in new jersey and taken and murdered and neither recovered from that and i think it played a huge role in what what happened to
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charles later on. when his child was killed and the way it was covered by the tabloid press it was so revolting to him he thought there wasn't any freedom left, individual freed. he took ann and their second son who was born well after the kidnapping and took him to europe in the mid 1930s and that is when hitler's government invited him to germany and used him for propaganda purposes. they wanted him to say the germans are unbeatable. he bought into their propaganda ploy. so, you know, went on from there. >> robert in new hampshire. hi, robert. >> caller: hi, ms. olsen i
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really enjoyed your "citizens of london." i really enjoyed it enormously. the question i had of you was churchill's relationship to chamberland and how it contrasted to his relationship with stanley baldwin. he seemed to be personally loyal to chamber but really loathed baldwin. in your research, have you found out why he had such a deep personal animosity toward baldwin? >> who was stanley baldwin? >> he was the conservative prime
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minister who proceeded chamber and he was prime minister in the '20s as well. i just always wondered why churchill disliked him so much. >> guest: you know, that is a really, really good question. i think part of it was just personal animosity and bad blood. they had gone against each other on a number of issues including if you remember when the king advocati advocate d because he wanted to marry a divorced american. churchill was very much a romantic and a royalist. he supported the king in his fight to marry the woman he
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loved and baldwin was very, very much against that. you know, that that could not happ happen. and in terms of rearming, you know, in right of hitler's threats they were also very much opponents in that regard. that is a really good question you raise. churchill was very loyal to nevil chamberland until the end and britain declared war. you know, chamberland invited him into cabin again as first lord of the admirality. once churchill was part of the government he was pressuring chamberland to be more aggressive against the chamberlands. publically he supported chamberland in what he did and
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even until the very end he was going against these and we were talking about men who desperately and widely were saying zee to get chamberland out of there. if we don't, we are going to go down to defeat. there is no question we will go down to defeat until the very end winston churchill was defending him. churchill was very loyal to people who brought him into the government and certainly to nevil chamberland and he kept him in the government and didn't throw him out. that was loyalty but also because he was still very politically afraid that -- well he was polyt politically unpopu
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even once he was prime minister and wanted to keep the members on his side and kept chamberland and lord halifax in the government who was the foreign secretary because he was afraid they might try to oust him. it wasn't until several months later when he started making the great speechers with fire on the land and fire on the hills and he became the symbol of british resistance and only then did the tory party start lining up with him. but until then he was very nervous about what was going to happen. >> host: meredith from new york city sends in a question you answered about churchill putting chamberland in the cabinet. what was his post? was he there for show? did he have substance? >> guest: he was an advisor but was definitely in the cabinet.
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churchill did listen to him. he may not have gone along with what he said but he did listen to him when he was in the cabinet. chamberland was loyal become to churchill and supported him in those early days and months of churchill's premiership. there is a new movie coming out in november which is about this period in late may of 1940 when lord halifax and others within the government actually were pressuring him to think about negotiating and making a separate piece with hitler. there was a lot of pressure on churchill at that point and many people think that was one of the primary aspects of the war.
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>> linda is in kaufmann, texas. >> caller: here in kaufmann there is a number one flat museum which chronicles the history of the officers from the
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royal air force that came over and learn to build during the world war ii and i am always interested in what the women's part of that was and colin baxter here from in kaufmann was a link instructor at the school but that has nothing to do with the question. i wanted to ask lynne earlier in the program she was talking about winston churchill's daughters and their affairs they had with the american journalists that were in england at the time. i was wondering, although you can never really say how one person does anything, but if she thought that that was a calculated affairs or if they were true from the heart?
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>> guest: that is an excellent question. that is a really good question. it depends on which relationship you are talkinging about. the pamala churchill and harem relationship there is a lot large part of calculation in that. pamela churchill was egged on by winston churchill. he certainly didn't express disapproval of her relationship with him even though she was cuckling his son. churchill basically was a realist. he wanted the americans in the war. he wanted to win the war. his first thought was for britain and britain's survival. if it meant sacrificing personal
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relationships i won't say he didn't care but that wasn't the most important thing. the most important thing was britain. i think pamela churchill thought he was encouraging her in this relationsh relationship because she learned what the americans did. he went along with it. i think the social element was very much from the heart. they were both -- they needed somebody. they were both very lonely and i think they truly did love each
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other. it didn't work out. i think each of them was very important to the other throughout the war the time they were together. >> when did avril and pamela get married? >> guest: well after the war. his wife was living in the united states and never came to london. and a number of other things. this wife died and pamela went on to have many affairs with other men and married one or two more. she was probably in his late '50s but they ran across each
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other and went to a dinner party and the whole flame >> next call comes from victor in california. >> caller: thank you. ms. olsen, thank you for your contribution to history and bringing light to this subject. recently i read a book whose name i cannot remember because i am going into senality.
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he appeased incestantly. then later when the war turned against germany they needed to have somebody to blame and his opponents and politics and avenui everything was appeasement on chamb chamb chamb chamberland's part. the blame was laid at his feet and the victors in england were celebrati celebrating. how do you see that, ma'am?
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i know there are a number of his to -- historians who argue and that is a strain of of history that has come up. he is talking about the need to have a stronger air force and there was some work done and certainly it was built up but not built up defensively. most of the money went to defend britain against a german attack.
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they were saying maybe they will have to go to war but there was a feeling that there was nothing that could be done. there was this idea that the bomb would always get through. that was a stanley baldwin line. the bomb will also get through. the german' bombers will destroy us. they will blow us to smith renes if a war starts and it is all over if that happens so we must do everything we can to stay out of that. he was fierce and more war-like against domestic opponents than he was against germany.
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he was a tough guy who punished those who didn't agree with him.
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>> guest: i did about a year's worth of research to do this pook. after that and i had actually started writing and it is a huge project. seven different cities beside england i would have to go to. it was overwhelming and i didn't think my publisher was paying enough money to do it. i put it aside and came up with the idea for "citizens of london" and fsu did not want that. my agent took to random house
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and they wanted it. my agent said why don't you go back to the idea of occupied europe and england. inwent back and she was right. several years went by and i thought i could tackle it and felt comfortable doing it. >> what became your go-to places for research? >> england principlely. france. >> where is england? >> the national archives which has a lot of information obviously about the british government but it has information about the european
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governments in exile that i write about and about their relationship with british officials. england is the home of the government's and exiles papers. at the end of the war, poleland was -- poland was handed over. london is still a treasure-trove of information and i went to
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most thof the can countries i write about as well. >> researching in berlin. what was that like? i didn't do any research there. all the primary research was about the alied governments in london. >> we will talk about those stories and characters in a minute after this break. we ask you to share your authors and what you are reading and here are the answers lynne olson gave us.
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new york times magazine con tributer susie hanson talked
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about her travelling broad. and david osborn examined the charter school movement. and daniel allen discussed how mas incarceration impacted her family. and the coming weeks on after words. charles psych provides his thoughts on america. and federal judge john newman shares the challenges he has faced in his 45-year career on the bench. and art levine reports on the mental health industry. >> i opened my initial story with a person who is let out of a facility over the objection of the doctor but the facility wanted to save money and he had a dream he wanted to send his father to heaven by killing him with a baseball bat and i
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profiled this example of the untreated. then i learned through the good offices of one of the countries's great reformers. the judge gave me a tour of a modern day hell which was the 9th floor of the miami-dade county jail. it is -- my original article had the photos but the photos and even narrative feature writing simply does not do justice to the horror of what you saw. it is my view it is not even 19th century mental health. there were mostly minorities and untreated and refusing medication or not treated properly who were naked surrounded by blue synthetic cloth they could not use to rip or kill themselves and they were
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sleeping on rusted, metal beds. and the judge told me at the time it makes you wonder who is crazy. are we crazy? or is the cysystem crazy this i existing? >> after words airs at 10:00 p.m. on book saturday and sunday at 9:00 p.m. easterern. you can watch previous episodes on booktv.org. >> your favorite books. is there a common theme among
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these books? >> some were written among women. i said i wasn't -- i wasn't thinking that. you are right. i tend to read books that are by english writers and i loved england before i went there. >> you are inspired by donald carson. who is that? >> he was a professor at the university of arizona where i went to school. when i was a kid growing up, i
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was good writer in school but i didn't know what i wanted to do. i knew i wanted to go to washington. he waunz of my inspirations. i wanted to be part of what he brought to publix service. i wanted to go to washington and retained that gel of when i was in high school and went to college. when i was finishing my sophomore year in college, i thought you want to go to washington what are you going to do in washington? i didn't want to be a secretary or assistant. i wanted to do something important. and so i thought what can i do? so, i thought about journalism.
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i decided to take a journalism class at the university of arizona. i took my first class and i fell in love with it. i fell in love with the whole idea of journalism and the reason i did is basically because of the professors there. they were all former journalists themselves. there was a whole group of them that were just absolutely wonderful. they encouraged me to become a journalist. everything about it i just loved. i loved the idea of going out and reporting. i loved the drama of going air and asking questions and do that are for a living. i thought it was fabulous.
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they encouraged me and i majored in political science and graduated and got a job almost immediately with the associated press. they wrote letters and thanks to them i got my first job. so they were and still are very, very important to me. where did you get your writing style for your books? if you know about the wire service, it is just the facts. i learned it is important to attract the reader right away. not only do you want your most important facts in the first paragraph but you want the most interesting facts. i soon gravitated to being a
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feature writer. it wasn't as fluid as i wanted it to be. i happens to have the good fortune of marrying is magazine reporter who is a brilliant writer. my husband. and we wrote two books together and he really did influence me in kind of opening up and kind of telling a story and i can't really explain what i learned but i learned how to tell a story better than i had been doing up to that point. so it was a progression. i didn't start out as a fluid, kind of setter of a scene. i grew into it. but stan really, really helped me in that regard. >> host: well, speaking of
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grabbing the reader, last hope island opens on april 9th, 1940. what happened? >> norway was invaded. but i open with the innovation and the german ships coming up into osbrow at night and nobody is expecting it. it is april and still cold in norway. everybody is asleep except for a number of ships. norwegian ships who were guarding and a couple of norwegian shore batteries. all of a sudden they realize these two war ships are going up to the ship yard and they try to stop them. norway has a miserable navy.
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very small navy. everybody thinks they are relics and they sank the war ship. it is about the sinking of the war ship and the king and his family and his government escapping just as the germans are about to capture him. >> that escape was treacherous for a couple weeks.
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he went by train to a town in a 60-70 miles north and the germans were on their track and started driving in cars and again this is april but it is not spring time in norway. the weather is treacherous still. it was icy. at one point the german fighters caught up with them in a small village and took shelter there for the night and german plains, fighter plains, suddenly appeared over this little village and a warning was sounded so the king and his son, the crown prince and government ministers flood into the forest and took cover under the trees while these bombers were coming down and shooting at them and
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dropping bombs on them. none were killed. they all survived. but one of the planes was shot down and the pilot had in his jacket we got rid of the king of norway and his government. the king and his people were trying to allude the germans and eventually did. he made it to london. but incredible story. >> chapter two. queen of holland. >> norway was in april. in may, the next month, the queen of holland is sound asleep and gets awakened and word that the germans have started to invade her country. they are not coming by sea but dropping by parachute in the
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holland. totally surprised and people had no idea this was about to happen. she takes her daughter saying war has come. and she has, it isn't as dramatic but also has several days of dodging the germans and finally leaves holland. she didn't want to leave holland. she wanted to stay. she was a feisty woman and wanted to stay and fight. not just be queen but fight with her troops. but was prevailed pawn to go to london which she didn't want to do. >> how interrelated were all the royal families at this point? >> king hawkin was the uncle of king george the 6th at britain. queen victoria had so many children and her children
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married lots of royal families within europe. they all were, you know, not only knew each other but were related to each other. hawkin married king edward the 7th daughter. he married his fifth cousin who became queen mod. when she was young, when hawkin was young, his parents wanted him to marry queen and he didn't want to. he wanted to marry mod but they
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knew each other. >> he wasn't even norwegian and didn't speak it until his 30s. >> he is one of the great stories of this book. unfortunately, he happened to be the grand son of the king of norway in sweden. they were alive and part of a confederation until the early 20th century and norway in 1905 decided it did not want to be part of that confederation. it wanted to be an independent country and didn't go to war against sweden. they told sweden we want to be independent but we will take a member of your family, of the royal family as our king. they didn't have a king at that point. so the king of sweden and norway decided that the only person to fit that bill was prince
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charles, a danish prince. that was the last thing he wanted. he wanted to remain with the navy. his wife mod that was the last thing she wanted. either wanted to be on the thrown but they were prevailed upon to. so he became king of the country that he knew very little about. he could not speak the language until becoming king and had to change his name from carl to hawkis and queen mod refused to. he was considered an outsider and felt like an outsider until world war ii. the government of norway is liberal and socialist and never accepted him as queen. they didn't like the idea of monarchy to begin with. he knew right from the beginning hitler was going to be a problem. he read mind comp and kept
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warning the government you better pay attention. he refused to give into hitler's demands he accept a norwegian nazi as the prime minister. he said if the government wanted to do that he would advocate and no longer be the royal family. a lot of government ministers wanted to give into hitler but because the king was so insistent they went along with him and the country resisted. he was really the centerpiece of norway's resistance throughout the war. this guy who was considered an outsider after the war was the most beloved person in norway. you know, he had totally changed his life as a result of world war ii.
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>> and queen will meana, didn't she give a house to the kaiser from world war one in germany and he was living in holland? >> she became queen when she was ten years old. her elderly father died. the king of holland. and she didn't act as queen until 18 but was very strong wild from the beginning and refused to often listen to what people thought her government thought was the right thing to do it. he gave haven to the kaiser and they were furious at her and she did. >> terribly sad story when they wanted to go ice skating and they cleared off the canal and she wanted to skate by herself. >> there is another wonderful story. she hated what she called the
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cage which was the very straight laced formal stiff court that she grew up in. she hated it. she wasn't allowed to state with other people and had to skate alone. my favorite story about that time is she was once overheard as a little girl scolding one of her dolls and said to one of them if you continue to be naughty i will make you a queen and where you will have no other children to play with. that is heart rendering. much of my story of here during world war ii is her struggle to break open that cage that she was in. once she went to london, she was no longer surrounded by this court and she had power. she made, you know, great use of it. i say it wasn't churchill and the british who had their finest hour during world war ii.
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>> what you write in last hope island is why have the contributions by allies other than the u.s., britain, and soviet union been neglected by historians. you see churchill bears much of the responsibility for the omission. >> yes, he did. we haven't talked too much about the contributions these countries did make to not only help britain survive but in terms of over all alied victory. and i think one of the main reasons is churchill p-- he sai that during the war, he said that the day the war ended, and he said that through, you know, after the war.
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they had all these other governments from these occupied countries who were contributing a lot. i think that is one reason why what you read is true. i think people look at it as the big three who were really the ones who made all the contributions. >> lynne olson is our guest on booktv. we have another hour to go. i will put the numbers up. in case you can't get through on the phone numbers we have some social media sites where you can make a comment and we will look at those as well. but i want to point out we have set aside a third line just in case there are any world war ii era veterans or people who lived through that era out there who would like to call in and talk. 202-748-8202 is the number for you to call. bruce in chesterton, indiana you
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have been very patient and thank for holding. >> caller: i want to thank ms. olsen for her insight. it has been helpful looking at the origin of world war ii and intrigues that happened at the time. my understanding is that winston churchill was a very strong proponent of the british empire and besides sitting with himself or england itself he was interested in reestablishing, maintaining the british empire after the war. that probably didn't have much effect until the end of the war until it was obvious the germans were going to lose. i always understand that president roosevelt wasn't enclined that way and was kind of anti-clonalist. i was wondering the relationship between the two and after the war.
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he was determined not to give up the empire as a result of the war. he was saying the days of the empire were over and this is a huge poipt of controversy between the two men. it occurred at the same time the united states and the soviet
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union were taking over more responsibility for the car. the u.s. and soviet union were clearly the big boys in the war stating in 1943. they had been close churchill and together a lot from pearl harbor onwards starting loosing interest in churchill and england.
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it was obvious he was siteing with him on a number of issues and the two of them making fun of churchill and it was painful he was doing this. he thought he was friends and close to roosevelt and when this started happening and roosevelt made it clear he was against the british empire and thought it should be dissolved. it was difficult for churchill to accept. he fled too much work but a lot of people including -- i share the belief that he basically had
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been soheart by what roosevelt did to him he didn't want to go. ....
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they both were added the spy novels so they came to believe that it was this all powerful organization. so that is the background. the reality was very different. it was underfunded, it did not to have the brightest in the universe and its ranks. it had really messed up a lot in the prewar years. then the blitzkrieg happened and they had nothing basically.
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so they had nothing when the war began.so thanks to the occupied countries who brought european countries that brought their intelligence services with them to london, mi6 appropriated their work. they were giving them the money and their spies continue to spite in their country. so in france, poland, holland. there were spies from those countries. intelligence from those countries picking up information about the journeys, sending it to london. so it was not mi6 but they took credit for it.they have all of these great intelligence clues like the v1 and the v to bombs and rockets. they came from the french but mi6 took credit for it. and then they had placements on the shores of normandy, all the things that they needed to know
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in order to keep the pumps from coming. all of that information came from european. they came from european intelligence services and not from mi6 but again they took credit for it. :>> john is coming in from laurel, new york. hi >> thank you, sir. the citizens of london and i read last hope island. in fact, you kind enough i did send you an email after last hope island and he was very kind to respond to my email. i want to thank you for that. you were just talking, and i did ask you about by the way. and the channel islands. you had said you know you
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writing about london so i think you for that. but you were talking about the suspicion, i guess, that the united states, fdr in particular, had with respect to churchill with regard to reestablishing an empire. and i just finished reading two books by hastings. british, right? and he wrote retribution about the war in japan and also wrote armageddon about the last year of the war in europe. it points out, and i met it's what you already said, he points out that fdr and the government in general, dissuaded britain from becoming more involved in the last year in the war on the pacific because they saw that as an
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intent -- attempt by him towards having legitimacy. in the pacific. so i thought that was very interesting. i just came across that in the hastings book. >> john, why your seemingly large interest in the world war ii era? >> why is it? >> yes, sir. >> that is a very interesting question. i guess i started, i was when pearl harbor was attacked, i was four years old. but i am amazed at the recollection that i have and the war was over, i was eight years old and i had such vivid recollections which is hard for me to explain.
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the only thing i can attribute it to is that the war permeated everything in our lives. it was not like today. when the war is being fought by somebody over there in some country we understand very little about. it was so personal because everyone had someone who was involved in the war. and i lost an uncle. he was on the aircraft carrier when he was killed.i had -- i remember the days that the family was notified. we went to visit my grandmother, it happened to be mother's day. i had a cousin that was in the campaign and i went to italy and found when he went to. it was so much a personal thing in our lives that it was very vivid to me.
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so i started to develop an interest and read more about it.>> will leave it there and let lynn olson respond to you. >> thank you so much, that was fascinating. i really cannot and must we sit. you're absolutely right. i do not know that. i've not done much research about the specifics because my interest is always been in the european theater but there is no question that the us tried very hard to keep britain from being heavily involved in the pacific. we considered the war that we had done the lion's share of the fighting and they were very much against having britain command at the end and they were thinking about the future. thinking about postwar. >> you talked about death. john talked about death.
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100,000 or so americans lost their lives during the world war ii era. maybe half of those being soldiers. and the rest, somewhere else. but the 400,000 compared to 25 million soviets. >> yeah. there is no question that the loss of life world war ii was unbelievable! in the soviet union certainly for the front. but we got off fairly lightly. i mean, 400,000 is not light! that is a lot of people! but compared to, you know, poland and the soviet union and other countries in eastern europe. just overall. you know not even military, so many civilians died in europe and asia. it is astonishing how many. we did not have, you know pearl harbor and other places people lost their lives but nothing,
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nothing like what happened. >> i think i read that china and russia were the two transport with the losses in world war ii. >> i am not saying that because of my fixation on europe. i do not know that much about that but i do know obviously that is so true and people, friendly people begin to focus more on the soviet union and what happens and met hastings being one of them. i mean they did bear the brunt, there's no question! one of the reasons why roosevelt and churchill were willing, if not willing or if not eager, certainly churchill was not eager to turn over poland in eastern europe to stalin at the end of the war. the reason that they did it was because they wanted to keep stalin in the war. they wanted to keep the soviets as the main force you know if was the brits taken the brunt
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from the germans. it was all political. :>> interviewed met hastings in london a couple of years ago. i believe he told me that more citizens during the battle of britain during the war years were killed crossing the street in london because of -- them by the bombings or the v2's. :>> i didn't know that but certainly there were a lot and they were killed in accidents. yeah. but i mean, there are tens of thousands who were killed in the blitz and b1 and b2. he is more of an expert than i am. there a lot of sentences that lost our lives however, in world war ii. >> dan, bridgewater, new jersey. please go ahead. >> i'm sorry that i did not read the works but on the issue -- i wonder if i continue to
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comment. i was a child during world war ii and had many memories that are vivid. i came from eastern europe and now in europe and for many years in europe, the bad guys was churchill. and the british manipulating the situation in europe and there were a lot of people that were faithful to -- they wrote extensively on this. kind of leaves a question as to who interest, england just like germany operated through the 20th century. and raises also the issue of maybe that has a lot to do with why now, a lot of people are saying good riddance to england
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coming out of the eu even though it may hurt them economically. i wonder if you would comment with this act and the anti-english feeling that is so prominent in york particularly related to the world war ii in particular because no one is left to remember world war i. :>> where were you during world war ii? :>> i was a child in eastern europe. :>> where in eastern europe? >> when mcgovern had bombed -- in romania. they were told to drop the leftover bombs in the field so that they can get across the mediterranean but they decided that it would be a shame to do that so they dropped it on the capital city of romania which had absolutely no military targets. >> thank you, sir. >> it's funny that my war was
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vietnam and it's funny how we felt about vietnam and you did not feel about world war ii. history is a funny thing, that is my point. >> are totally agree with you. history is a funny thing. i can speak about certainly about britain in terms of we were told about anti-british feeling. toward the end of the war, is very obvious why there would be anti-british feeling and in poland and much of the rest of eastern europe because of what churchill and his government did. which was basically agree to hand over poland to the soviet union. after poland -- poland and czechoslovakia were important allies but pulling particularly. the contributions to the victory were enormous in so many ways in terms of espionage and in terms of the code and the battle of britain or polish pilots helped to win that
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battle. and many many other ways. poland, there were 200,000 in british uniforms fighting across europe. the fourth largest military force in allies good health win. they were on every european front. and then to have that rewarded at the end, it didn't, they did not get the country back. they did not get back and i certainly can understand that. i also have to point out that for much of the war britain was also a symbol of hope for much of europe. because it was resisting, because it was holding out against germany. it provided a refuge for all of these governments and military forces from europe. where they would not have been able to keep up the fight if it had not been for england.
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if they could not have gone to london and stay there for the rest of the war. i talk a lot about one particular important source of hope for europe and that was the bbc. the bbc broadcast to all of these countries in their own languages during the war. millions of people in occupied europe listened to the bbc even though it was outlawed by the germans in every single country. and in some countries the punishment for listening to the radio's death. but they did. they hid their radio sets during the day and they took them out at night and turned it on to listen to the bbc. and for many many europeans it was their lifeline to freedom. it was the only place that they could turn to and here was actually going on in the war, i know that there were countries still fighting against hitler.
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and so, it did offer more than a flicker of hope and inspiration for all of those countries. so britain did play an important role not only in terms of the actual fights but in terms of providing inspirations of the country but it also did some really really bad things as well. and you have a very important point. >> question of honor by the battle of britain and, 303rd squadron, a.k.a. -- was credited with downing more german aircraft than any other squadron attached to the royal air force. none pilots were formally designated as aces. the squadron because it was made up of poles was not allowed to take part in british celebrations following the
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article the brits do not want to offend. :>> that's right. we begin the book question of honor, with this absolutely heart rendering seen. it is after the war. 1946. britain is hosting a huge victory parade that consisted of the countries that fought for the allies during world war ii and so there was this huge parade down the streets of london. obviously, british and americans from all over, brazil, it just went on and on and on. but the poles were not there. they were not invited because again, the country was turned over to stalin, it was now a communist country and so the poles who contributed so much, particularly in pilots had to stand on the sidewalks and watch all of this people go by.
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in their country was gone and they were not honored in this parade. it was really tragic. >> lynne olson, your book was laura boyd, the second is freedom's daughter. it is unlike any other book. >> that is an outlier. after we wrote -- we were looking for something to do. i've not gone on the path of becoming expert in britain in world war ii. i was reading a wonderful book called parting the waters. it is magisterial. if the biography the first of a three volume biography of martin luther king but what it really was is history of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s in the country. it is a brilliant book. i was reading it and kept running across names of women who played a role in the civil
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rights movement. and taylor road really well about them but in my opinion is not include enough.i mean i want to know more about them. it was rosa parks obviously but many more women that i never heard of. so i went looking for a book about them. and i cannot find one. i could not find a book about women in the civil rights movement so i decided to write it myself. that turned out to be freedom's daughters. >> we have video of one of the women. we will play it and have you talk. [video] you have to go back out and picked up to your neighbors who do not speak to you and you have to reach out to your friends that think they are making it good and get them to understand that they, as well as you and i, cannot be free in
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america or anywhere else where there is capitalism and imperialism. [applause] until, until, until we can get people to recognize that they themselves have to make the struggle and the fight for freedom every year until they win. thank you. >> who was that? >> ella baker. that is so interesting! it is very embarrassing for me but ella baker was really a behind the scenes woman. i had not really seen much footage of her. everybody has seen rosa parks and some of the others but that
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is so fascinating! ella baker is one of those forgotten heroines i had never heard of. i mean she, she was kind of this thread that ran through the civil rights movement. she connected all of these groups together. she was basically the woman behind the throne with martin luther king in terms of setting up the leadership conference. she was really the person who did it. martin luther king was the leader but she was one that created this and he treated her as a woman and then they often detained the inspiration -- it was the student movement. these were the kids that went down to the south and were
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organizing for voter registration etc. ella baker was there inspiration. she was the one who is behind that helps the commitment but i swear, that is the first time i've ever seen that! there is so little, probably a lot more for this i know it but i had not ever seen that.:>> she is so incredibly important to the civil rights movement. she was just one of many that will behind the scenes doing all of the work and they never got the credit for it. >> and that, freedom's daughter came in 2001. i'm not even sure if it was you to but now you write about ella baker that from her earliest years she counts out to no one. she was always protesting something and that martin luther king was not fond of any criticism but baker's complaints were particularly -- old enough to be his mother he felt no awe.
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>> yes! you can see that she doesn't take anything from anybody. she was really an extraordinary person. >> we wanted to make sure that we touched on freedom's daughter as well as the world war ii book. it is part of your collection. charles in tacoma washington. :>> i am a big fan since a young man. did not know anything about that. in my mind churchill just appeared at the right moment. and the polish book, i knew they had flown in the battle of britain. i did not know about the huge accomplishment that they performed during the war or that they had the fourth
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largest force in the war. i got an autograph. and i don't do autographs. i do not understand that. but i got an autograph at an air show it's a museum in washington. i get a little choked up sometimes. there were two polished pilots there and the younger one had flew in the war. but the other one actually thought in the battle of britain. and this was just a few years ago. there was this little incredibly frail little man. anna had to shake his hand and get his name. i loved -- in the citizens of london. and later when i read david
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mccullough's parents book, a section about washburn i think it is who was the ambassador to france during the war and the siege and in the horrors of the community. i really put those two men together. if you have not read it, it is a wonderful book. and a great story. just want to thank c-span for continually putting on this show. thank you very much. >> thank you for your comments, thank you for watching. are you retired and from what? >> i was just a working guy. i did a lot of things. i sold cars and did not have anything, an important career but i was like -- i did world war ii. when i was four years old, during the war, we lived near
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the air force base and they had when i found out later was a group of p 47 is there. i had my own private air show. as they did their maneuvers over our barn. >> that's great! >> it was just incredible. looking straight up, a big wow! >> that is great. i would choke up to, i do also when i talk about the pilots. we got to know a number of them doing the book. and there are still a fair number of them around. actually in seattle washington, when we were there, one time a very tall distinguished looking gentleman came up to us. he said, you know you remember in your book in the beginning
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what you write about the parade and the talk about a pilot standing on the sidewalk and a woman says he starts walking away and the woman says to him why are you crying young man? and we said yes. and he said i am the pilot. and you know, i had a lot of tears that night also. thank you so much. >> ann from portland oregon. >> as a norwegian american would often much of sweden but i was wondered why were sweden and switzerland able to sit out both world wars? >> i think the answer is because it was strategically important for both the allies in germany. they both particularly the beginning of the war was important for germany. both of those countries that they be mutual. in terms of money, laundering
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money, sending money to switzerland, sweden provided germany early on with some important elements like iron ore. if it wasn't important to stay neutral they would have been taken over by germany. the neutral countries, they were fascinating places.all of them, they were others like portugal and spain. but they were seething with spies from all of the countries who were fighting and whether was japan, germany, britain, the united states. they were all they are spying on each other. so a lot was going on. a lot of very underhanded stuff was going on in these officially neutral countries. :>> was anyone in the 1930s, lynn olson, putting all of these.together and saying that the sky is going to fall?
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was there a group out there saying this? >> there were various people i mean the king in norway was saying that. and in holland there were people. winston churchill was saying. in britain, they were people, there were groups but the overall attitude as i said before was because we absolutely don't want another war we will close their eyes and pretend like it can't happen. and that was the prevailing attitude. and in the united states as well. >> king leopold the third. what happened to >> this is one of the sad stories of this book. that was the third. i read about the two others that left. hawkins and wilhelmina left and made names for themselves. they went to london, stayed there and became heroes. leopold was the king who did
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not leave. he was considerably younger in his late30s or early 40s . his situation was different from the other two. he actually had some power where they did not really. he was the commander-in-chief of the belgian armed forces. he also, part of the reason history is sad is that he wanted to be very much like his father. king albert who had decided over belgium during world war i. he was also the commander-in-chief of the belgian forces and when germany invaded belgium, belgium was the first european country invaded by germany.and he said he was not going to leave. and he was going to remain in charge of the forces despite the fact that everybody in belgium was overrun by germany. but he managed, he and his forces managed to win one crucial battle early on which
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meant that they kept, belgium had a small part of its territory thanks to the victory in this battle. when the king albert state and so was able as a result of keeping the territory france was able to keep her number of their ports as well. that was very important. and he was a very popular figure in world war i. a hero. so his son grew up hero worshiping his father and wanted to be exactly like him. his father died young in a mountaineering accident and leopold became king. so in world war ii, he thought i'm going to do exactly what my father did. he took charge of the troops and when it was clear the germans were going to win, they were he said he was not going to leave. he was going to bed his father and stay with his troops. his father said he would never leave belgium, leopold said i
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will never leave belgium. so a state which ended up being a huge mistake and he surrendered. and so he became the subject of total i mean -- the opposite, the opposition to him in britain and france was extraordinary. basically, churchill and the french laid all of the blame for the defeat of all of these countries at the foot of leopold. leopold had not given up then everything would have been fine. we would've been able to continue on and we could have fought the germans, we could have beat them, it was all leopold's fault. so he was being guarded by the germans in cannot say anything. and so, he stayed in belgium for the rest of the war. he met with hitler to try and get better treatment for his people and that was seen as collaboration with hitler.
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he made a very grave mistake. he should have left. but you know he stayed for honorable reasons. and his troops were overwhelmed. churchill and the french, the head of the french government said that because they surrendered, because of belgium surrendered, it was the reason why the germans were able to sweep and so quickly into france, etc. but in fact, the belgian forces were allowed, the british forces to lead at dunkirk. they were holding up the german forces and if that had not been true, dunkirk probably would not have happened. so he became kind of the boy for the guilt of the defeat in western europe. :>> and other thing i learned
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is that the us recognized -- not the free french. >> no! the government was actually the legitimate government of france. the premier turned over and turned the government over to -- legally it still was the government and the only french official who went to britain was the lowly brigadier general. almost nobody had heard of him at that point. the brits did not recognize the government there winston churchill recognized them as the unofficial head of free france. so was not official position at all. the us, brendan roosevelt thought he could get them to come over to the allies side. so the us government did
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officially recognize them as the legitimate french government. we had an ambassador, and embassy, and that continued until the germans invaded all of france in 1942. so yes, he tried very hard to get the officials to come over and they never did obviously. :>> skin from doug and massachusetts. >> hi, someone once said that history is an agreed-upon set of myths. i just have a question for you. i am sure she was following trial in london for --. i was wonder whether or not she had any opinions. thank you so much! >> that trial was over david irving as being a holocaust denier and three denver who was a historian basically wrote
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that he was a holocaust survivor which indeed he was. yeah, i mean -- that was the end of the holocaust did not exist. it did not happen. it is beyond belief. i mean you know, anyone knows anything about world war ii and what went on in poland and the soviet union and eastern europe knows that it happened. i mean we have so much evidence around us it is astonishing that he managed to carve out all he did. >> you can call us at 201-748-8200 or 201-748-8201.
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you can also call 201-748-8202. lynne olson, churchill and roosevelt and the other leaders, were they aware of the concentration camps and what was going on in germany? did they bury that a little bit? >> i mean, germany had set up concentration camps by the late 30s but they were not really for jews. they were for opponents of germany. that was the establishment in the 30s . then some of the others were also but it wasn't really until the 40s, it was not until 42, early 42 that the final solution was actually decided upon. and the extermination camps. there's a difference between concentration camps and extermination camps. many of them were horrible in which hundreds of thousands if not millions of people died.
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but they were not set up deliberately to kill people. many, many people died as a result. they were murdered there but it was not a, a systematic thing to murder as many people as you could. extermination camps were. and almost all of them were impulsive. and the reason for that is because it was a way, it was hard to get information from poland because the germans had you known it was obviously so much control. but yes, churchill and roosevelt both knew about the extermination camps by the end of 1942. the polish government in exile, polish couriers from you know within occupied poland managed to get out and bring a lot of
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this information to london and elsewhere. and jewish organizations were getting information as well and passing it on. so the polish government in exile published a report in 1942 talking about at least a million people have already died in these extermination camps in poland. and that was actually published and there was, the government spoke out, british government spoke out very forcefully. americans didn't do all that much but roosevelt was aware. the thing is that nothing was done about it. and then the question becomes what could have been done? i do not know. but certainly, it could have been a much more forceful reaction than what churchill or roosevelt mounted. they did not come again, that was -- it was not something they wanted to deal with for whatever reason. they did not want to deal with
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it. they kept saying the important way was winning the war to help the jews. that is what negates everybody. why aren't you doing this, why are you saving them when they were starving in the last winter of the war? why weren't you doing anything? it was the best thing to help us win the war. and so yes, the answer is yes, they did know about it. >> john is in west palm beach, florida. >> just give me a few minutes if you would please. in world war ii you need to learn world war i. people forget what we went through in world war i. it is the 100th anniversary and we really did not get there until april 1918. one year after we declared war. emeryville did not fighting until the summertime. and we lost. this is 53,000, we lost more than that actually, 63,000 because of injuries from the
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war and disease. so the total was more but the point i'm trying to make is, the british in one day lost 65,000 men and when people look back, they do not see with the english peoplesoft.which was horrendous deaths and horrendous personal tragedies from world war i. this is a poor analogy but it is like a football team. the winning team serves a lot of injuries but they win. the losing team suffers injuries and they lose. they want revenge and hitler was the revenge. the winning team in world war i just wanted to move on and the last thing that they want was a war. but i do have a question as far as winston churchill's citizenship. his mother was an american citizen if i'm not mistaken. could he have been president of the united states?
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>> well, he was not born here. i think you have to be born here in order to be president of the united states. i think he would have loved the idea of being president of the united states! you know, he was very proud of his american heritage. he really was. and i think he was not all that popular before he became prime minister within london. especially he came from an upper-class background. he was the grandson of the duke and he was always regarded as not quite proper. among the people that he grew up with. and they laid a large part of the blame on that he was half american. he was emotional, outspoken and ambitious, all of the things that you're not supposed to be when you are british. but he was! and so, he really did, he took great pride in being half american. and i tend to say he appeared
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before the house of representatives during the war and he said, if i'd been born, i don't remember how he phrased it but he basically said you know, i can be appear as president of the united states rather than as prime minister. you know, i think -- things had been different he could have been president. >> he was unemployed after 1945. he had plenty of time to come over here and be president! [laughter] >> well, he was voted out of the conservative party, they were voted out of power which was stunning to virtually everybody, especially churchill. everybody thought that he was going to win. or most people thought he was. he had won the war. there is no question that winston churchill, without winston churchill, i think we might be speaking german. i mean i'm exaggerating but he was extremely important.
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and so, because of that everyone thought that he would win in 1945. with the british people were tired of war. they had been on the front lines also. their houses were bombed. you know they have suffered tremendous deprivation. they wanted a different life. they wanted a better life. especially those in the working classes. they wanted more. they had put out for their country and they wanted something in return. they did not think that churchill was up to the task. to be a peacetime prime minister and they were right. he was old, he was tired. i think he would not have been a very good peacetime premier. he did come back a few years later as a prime minister but i think that was a mistake. he probably should not have. :>> we have a call from fredericksburg, virginia. >> i wanted to ask ms. olson if she can relate why the germans
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-- after the disasters of the spring of 1945, why it would take an admiral eight days to surrender after the suicide of hitler on 30 april. thank you and i will read a lot of her books.>> thank you! i think part of that came from hitler. you know we will not surrender enough basically i will see germany ruined before i surrender. i think they feared what was going to happen to them afterwards.what was going to happen to them especially the soviet union. what would be there, certainly the fate of those top officials was not going to be good regardless. and so they held out. but i mean hitler, germany was just being decimated by american and british bombing
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campaigns but hitler just said he was not going to surrender. he was not going to give up. >> is there another book coming out? >> my next book is about the french resistance. the focus of that is the french resistance. >> is it safe to say the free french and the french resistance are two different things? >> yes. i am writing a book about somebody that was the head of an intelligence network in france and the relationship of that network with england. so it will be a lot more what was going on in france during the war. :>> to several of your world war ii books build on each other? did you get an idea from one and then say okay i will go this way? >> yes, the book has been a building block. for example, when we did -- we watch an old british movie called the battle of britain
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which was made in the 60s. all the british doctors known to man were in there. but there was one scene in the movie which shows a squadron of polish pilots flying or just speaking polish and the british were really upset because they were speaking polish beard and nativist, neither of us at that point knew that there were any british pilots flying in the battle of britain when it turns out 20 percent of them were not british. they were from occupied europe. but that was the spark for the question of honor and then one thing led to another and some question of honor, i cannot do what it was but that led to troublesome young man and then troublesome young man doing research i found out other stuff and so that all led to that. :>> in citizens of london, you write that eight days after the surrender of japan in august 1945, harry truman canceled shipments to britain without any warning to the british
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government.>> that was devastated. >> why? the war had been over four months. >> what they were going through is not over. harry truman came to power, came to the presidency after the death of franklin roosevelt.he had not been prepared by roosevelt at all to become president. he was not in terms of policymaking, he did not know anything about what was going on in terms of the bombs, there was all sorts of stuff he did not know and one thing he did not know was how bad off the brits were at the end of the war. they were basically bankrupt. they have no money. and he got a lot of pressure from people in congress. republicans then, democrats stopped this program was benefiting the british. so he did again, not knowing really what he was doing. and it was devastating.
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the british needed the money to live. rationing in britain became worse after the war ended than it did during the war. rationing did not end until 1954. they won the war and yet, they were worse off. they were worse off than much of occupied europe with recovery was faster in many ways than the british. so it was really, it was really kind of a horrific thing that the americans did. what truman did was not really knowing what he was doing and the consequences. >> patrick, baton rouge. >> hello. my comment and question to ms. olson is, i'm very disturbed at what i see as present minded
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history. i am also a child of world war ii. and in fact, i was at fort benning with my father who was a professional soldier when the japanese bombed pearl harbor. what i think people cannot understand today is that absolutely terror was struck in the heart of this country. you see things like the twin towers, i have the feeling that people watching that, that is a special effects in the movies or television. they do not really get it. and just the atmosphere of complete unity, everyone involved in this, it was just it had to be done. it was just a wonderful thing in many ways.
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and it to me has been lost and again, to go back to the concept of viewing history by present day standards let the gentleman from romania. crying, the fact that bombs were dropped on cities and towns but nobody cared about that because we were scared to death. :>> i think we get the point patrick. let's hear from lynne olson. >> i think there is a problem as you say with the present day. looking at history from the present day. i mean -- it is one thing that we try to avoid as historians and we tried to spell out that yes we can, to give you an example, world war ii is now
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known as the good work. the greatest generation, we had to do it, it was a fight against the worst evil ever. and all of that is true looking back on it but when americans come in and talk about americans now, americans were going through the two years leading up to augmenting into the world. they did not know all of that. i think the isolationists were wrong looking back on it. they were not doing it. most of them were not doing it for bad motives. i mean they actually did believe it was not good for us to get involved in this war. you can understand, the young men we were talking earlier on, john kennedy and jerry ford and the ones that created america first. they did not know they were going to be as great generation in a couple of years, they did
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not know what was going to happen to them. they did not know what was going to happen in the extermination camps in poland. from their point of view at that point they thought they were doing the right thing. i think is really important to people to keep them on one reads about what happened and another example is people saying about occupied europe. and france and poland, people did not resist enough. there is a myth about widespread resistance. and it is ms because most people in those countries did not resist. and why didn't they? were they corroborated? if i were there i would have resisted. well, hello! quite frankly, i think you had to have lived in one of those countries before you can say that. you cannot pass judgment on something that happened 60 or 70 years ago under circumstances that you cannot possibly imagine how perfect
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they were. so one has to guard against that. one has to guard against judging what happened by the standards of today. i think they were real problems in doing that. >> ed from lakewood florida. >> good afternoon! i would like to make a viewpoint which is probably the prevailing viewpoint today about the queen. i lived in amsterdam, i lived in holland, i was born there i am 100 percent dutch. i can tell you for sure that queen was elitist, totally -- even though she made a grandstanding statement i'm going to defend the netherlands. when they found out that she left for england they consider her a traitor. unlike the king of belgium who really got in the crosshairs of the population because of the
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statements for germany, the queen said nothing or did absolutely zero to help the netherlands in fact probably -- she moved to canada eventually. i think that is the prevailing viewpoint and no matter how you say i stand by what i say. thank you. >> thank you for calling in. >> i think parts of what you are saying is correct. there is no doubt she was looked at as an elitist and aloof before world war ii. i think that is the way most people saw her in the netherlands. absolutely correct.and she was not popular when she left. that is what she feared. she did not want to leave but she thought people regard her. but from all accounts i have done a lot of research, the people from london, she did
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become the heart and soul. she made many broadcasts over the bbc encouraging her people to stand and resist and she spoke out constantly about war against the germans and hitler and using swearwords that nobody in holland ever heard her use. and so for my understanding, i respect your viewpoint but from what i understand, the majority of people in holland really came to love her. she did not move to canada. her daughter and granddaughters went there. during the war. she visited the united states and canada but she lived in london throughout the war and went back to holland the instant that she could. and the response from the dutch when she came back was just overwhelmingly positive. so, you know there is some
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truth in what you have to say but i think overall is not true. >> i cannot find what you recount her flight back into holland and her greeting that she got etc. and that she would not eat strawberries because none of her subjects could eat strawberries. >> she can back before holland was totally liberated. and she felt she was gone long enough so she came back and she brought back with her a royal -- to young dutchmen that were military aides and a secretary. and they set up shop in a small house in one of the provinces in holland. as soon she got there, thousands of people toward invite but to greet her. and every night she would have, she would kind of hold court in the sense that she and her daughter hit came back with her came out in this house and lines and lines of people would stand and go by her and shake
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her hand and tell her they were happy that she was there. >> >>

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